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Contribution provides critical support for community fire preparedness and prevention programs

By Stephanie Donovan

Photo: getting prepared; on July 14, SDG&E hosted a breakfast at the utility’s Kearny Mesa headquarters to distribute dozens of grants to support community partners focused on fire and emergency preparedness. John Sowers, SDG&E’s vice president of electric distribution operations, applauded the efforts of these grassroots groups to help improve regional safety.

July 21, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - More than a dozen East County community-based organizations dedicated to fire and emergency-preparedness programs recently received a financial boost, thanks to a $900,000 grant from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). SDG&E distributed the grants July 14 to more than 80 representatives of San Diego County Fire Safe Councils, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other regional safety partners.

“Safety is paramount at SDG&E, and we will continue to partner with state and local fire agencies, first responders, and weather experts to enhance overall fire preparedness in the region,” said John Sowers, vice president of electric distribution operations.

Among those receiving grants: the Lakeside Fire Protection District (FPD) CERT, the CERT for Deer Springs and the Julian-Cuyamaca FPD, the East County and the San Diego Rural CERT, the De Luz CERT and the De Luz Volunteer Fire Department, along with Fire Safe Councils in Harrison Park, Potrero/Tecate, Crest, Cuyamaca Woods, Mount Laguna, Outer Jamul, Pine Valley, the Real East County Fire Safe Council and the Back Country Land Trust of San Diego County.

SD&GE awarded the grants as part of SAFE San Diego, the utility’s philanthropic initiative aimed at supporting non-profit organizations dedicated to disaster preparedness, emergency response training, wildfire education, and defensible space assistance programs.

Many of these safety groups depend on volunteers and are located throughout the communities served by the utility. Other groups that received grants: 2-1-1 San Diego Disaster Program, the Burn Institute, the Forest Fire Lookout Association and nearly a dozen sovereign nations in San Diego County.

“On behalf of SDG&E, I couldn’t be more proud to be a champion for these smaller, volunteer-based organizations, who clearly feel strongly about helping their community and their neighbors,” said Sowers. “In many instances, these are the people who are among the first responders when there’s an emergency, such as a wildfire or earthquake.”

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